It was evening and Barstow before I remembered the desert, the strange, squat towns hunkered down in the scrub and dusk. The street names were about the wind and the sidewalks ended abruptly in heaps of sand. A gauzy sunset gathered overhead. I thought, beautiful! I thought, how can anyone live here? The answer flashed by in the space between howling semis. It was Corinthians in capital letters on sheet metal: “WE WALK BY FAITH NOT SIGHT.” On the low southern horizon the pump jacks nodded slowly. It might have been in agreement. They are blind creatures themselves.
It’s commencement season; the morning sidewalks downtown swirl with Sunday bests. On the airport bus, kids returning home stagger down the aisle under the weight of distended duffles and deceptive little suitcases that look liftable but in fact are full of books, lamps … bricks? “My microwave,” says one girl apologetically. She’s in gladiator sandals and resembles Snooki. Two planes and a world away, the Hawaiian custom appears to be roadside banners screaming spray-painted CONGRATS!! to John, Kamea, Meli et al, 2013!! The breeze off the ocean—merry whitecaps traversing jewel facets of azure—passes through the bulging bedsheets via semicircular slits. From the balcony at dusk I watch a hen chase a rooster across the lawn (odd), watch lithe blondes rummaging through car trunks, consider the age at which only impossible matriculations remain.